Sunday, December 31, 2006

A comment on 2006 via Genesis 32

24And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

25And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

26And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

27And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

28And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast contended with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

29And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

31And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he limped upon his thigh.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

On a completely different note

Half-watching a largely painful 1992 movie, Big Girls Don't Cry,They Get Even, I saw Dan Futterman. A fellow graduate of Columbia, he's a fine actor -especially in the dark and gripping Urbania-- and was Oscar-nominated for his Capote screenplay.

But I just think he is...well, a damn fine-looking man. A great face, one that I never grow tired of. He's got that boyish thing going -- a minor but strong interest of mine in men-- but the crooked smile, and the surprising strength and "guy" orneriness he can produce...well, he turns my head. His presence on the three "Fagmalion" episodes of Will & Grace partially redeemed that ultimately disappointing series.

And it doesn't hurt that, although married and a daddy, he admits to a region of man-loving in his soul and plays gay men very comfortably. It's a nice fantasy for me...

The Tyrant is hanged

Saddam Hussein was executed, a fate he well deserved. In fact, he was treated far more humanely, both in his trial and by his manner of death, than he deserved. He was a tyrant,
a type of man all too familiar to history. He was not the first and he will not be the last, but his fate is what they all merit.

I do not understand the handwringing of moralists about capital punishment. It seems to me that, ironically, they have lost touch with their humanity. They think themselves too good for this world. This world, the one we live in, on this planet, requires violence not only to survive but to promote the good. As with pacifism, a "higher" morality which actually serves the goals of brutal tyrants, so with anti-death-penalty positions.

I took no pleasure in the news of Saddam's death. That is without significance; it is simply the emotional reaction I had. If I had felt pleasure in it, that would not be particularly significant either. But it was right, in either case.

So-called humanitarians assert that human life is of such supreme value that no other human has the right to take it. I find this unbelievable on its face. However, it seems to me that if human life is so valuable, and if a man has been directly responsible for the unjustified deaths of so many, and so gruesomely, and so chronically, and they are unwilling to extract from him what he values most, ie his own life...then it is they who do not honor human life.

As I do with so much progressive posturing, I find this position to be drenched in moral narcissism. If Saddam did not deserve death, then no one does. And if no one deserves to die for what they do, then crimes become trivial.

Friday, December 29, 2006

From the dustbins of history

Discovered on bloody toga


Walls and Swords are NOT the answer:
Negotiate NOW
with the Goths, the Vandals and the Huns.

Let's have a truly universal,
open, tolerant and inclusive

After all, this is the Vth Century!

Discovered on bloody monk's habit:


Negotiate now with Sultan Mehmet II
for a cosmopolitan, bilingual/bicultural and multifaith

Down with racist Islamophobia!
After all, this is the XVth Century!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Seven Pillars of Progressive Liberalism

I plan to expand on these and why I think they are mistakes...namely:

multiculturalism, feminism, redistributionism, pacifism, secularism, internationalism and environmentalism.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

San Francisco Insults America...again

November 2006

The SF school board just voted to shut down JROTC because it promotes homophobia and militarism.

I am not surprised, but I am still contemptuous.

Here's a place which, if destroyed by an earthquake, would depend on the military to keep order and restore civilized life. And if they didn't do it in a hurry, they'd be in trouble. But in the meantime, the self-righteous fucktards who infest this beautiful place have decided that the military can go to hell.

It's an insult to the men who give their lives and their limbs to defend us. And of course it will only make it easier for gays and lesbians one day to be able to be out in the military. Oh, yeah. Big help, ending JROTC.

And in this political Twilight Zone, you can bet your ass that when they teach about Islam, the Religion of Peace, in the SF schools, it's all sweetness and light and how those poor Mohammedans are misunderstood and victimized by bad American prejudice. Yeah, Islam....the most violently homophobic religion on earth, whose Holy Law requires the death penalty for us. But we can't have the exclusionary warmongers of the American military near our children. Oooh nooo.

And of course, if any of the millions of foreigners illegally invading America from old Mexico want to vote in the school board elections here, why, it's just sooooo racist and typically Americakkkan to want to exclude them. But your own people, who want to protect and defend you...fuck them.

I love the weather here, I love that I can be out and gay and no one gives a rat's ass, I love the architecture and the coast and the sky and sea, and some of the people I love most in the world live here...but there is such an infection of batshit moral narcissism here, so insulting to my homeland, and to me as a gay man, that I am beyond contempt.

As the saying goes, if I saw these asshats on fire in the gutter, I wouldn't undo my zipper to put them out with piss...and I certainly wouldn't be calling in the Marines.

Postscript. A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins...
(from me, in honor of Cowboy Marine)

The Soldier

YES. Why do we áll, seeing of a soldier, bless him? bless
Our redcoats, our tars? Both these being, the greater part,
But frail clay, nay but foul clay. Here it is: the heart,
Since, proud, it calls the calling manly, gives a guess
That, hopes that, makesbelieve, the men must be no less;
It fancies, feigns, deems, dears the artist after his art;
And fain will find as sterling all as all is smart,
And scarlet wear the spirit of wár thére express.

Mark Christ our King. He knows war, served this soldiering through;
He of all can handle a rope best. There he bides in bliss
Now, and séeing somewhére some mán do all that man can do,
For love he leans forth, needs his neck must fall on, kiss,
And cry 'O Christ-done deed! So God-made-flesh does too:
Were I come o'er again' cries Christ 'it should be this'.

Were I come o'er again' cries Christ 'it should be this'.

American Muslims: A Fifth Column?

In NRO, Carol Iannone points out that "A poll of attitudes taken by Muslims for a Safe America from 309 Muslims who are American citizens shows that large segments of the responders, sometimes majorities, sometimes large minorities, believe

  • that America is at war with Islam,
  • that the United States knew the 911 attacks were coming,
  • that the US planned the attacks,
  • that Muslims did not carry out the attacks,
  • that Muslims had nothing to do with the recent terrorist plots uncovered in Britain and Canada,
  • that violence by Muslims against the American military overseas is acceptable, and that no security measures that might especially involve Muslims are justified.

Even the views of small minorities are disturbing, since extrapolated to the larger population, it would mean a significant number of American Muslims who believe, for example, that violence by Muslims against American civilians or the American military in the US is acceptable. In answer to the question, "If you learned about a plot by Muslims to attack targets inside America, would you tell law enforcement authorities," 234 said yes, but 39 said no, and 34 were undecided. Not exactly reassuring. Isn't diversity grand? "

You can find the original poll results at Muslims for A Safe America.

The Virgin and the Cherry: 12 Dec 2006

Thirty two years ago today, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I first made love with another man, losing, at long last, my virginity. I still remember that afternoon, the overwhelming power and sweetness of it. And the celebratory lunch at Burger King that followed! And the man, who loved me.

We parted ways a few years later, but remained friends. And every year, on this day, we'd make contact. A note, a phonecall, an email. This year, he is gone. He died suddenly in March, way too young. So I mark the day here, in memory of a life-changing moment, and of him. I will always be grateful that when I crossed that threshold, it was with a man I loved, and who loved me. That has made all the difference. I remember the note he sent me years ago, as I was about to embark on yet another upheaval of my life. He quoted Spock, whom he liked, and whom he was nothing like: "I have been, and always will be, your friend." Amen.

Listening to the UnSaid

One of the things I retain from my years as an intellectual is Martin Heidegger’s concept of the Unsaid. Tweaking it to my present, it means that I try to listen for what people do not say and do not speak about, what they avoid or what they seem oblivious to. I am especially intrigued if something that I am inclined to say or speak about is largely absent from discourse around me.

San Francisco is a rich laboratory for such musings.

Here’s something that’s Unsaid, in this city of compulsive babblers, where everyone pretends to have a unique and special point of view…

Contempt, paranoia and rage are poured out as a matter of course against American Republicans, “the religious right” (aka Christianity), and George Bush. Yet I never hear any critical, angry and challenging words about the Muslim jihadis who are warring against us.

The silence of this Unsaid is deafening to me.

Gratitude 23 Nov 2006

For the last month or so, I have been living with a vivid sense of gratitude. It is a heightened awareness of the things and places and, above all, people who make my life what it is. So Thanksgiving Day is in perfect sync for me this year.

I am with my family on the East Coast, my parents and my five remaining siblings (our sister died in 2004) and their families. These are people that I not only love, as my kin and flesh-and-blood, but whom I like and admire as men and women. My three brothers are stand-up guys, good husbands and fathers, funny, talented and amazingly affectionate. I am proud to be one of them. My two sisters are likewise good moms and wives, willing to go the extra mile, engaged with their own worlds, smart and persistent. I love to see both of them smile.

And I am grateful for my friends, some of whom I have known for forty years. It is such a pleasure to be in the company of someone who knows you, has thick history with you, with whom you can tell the truth without fear, and laugh till you drool.

I am grateful for the men I have loved, both living and dead, who have made me by joy and pain together the man that I now am. I am grateful for my patients, for their trust and their marvelous souls. I am grateful for chance and fateful encounters, for the way the sun shines as it sets through the leafless trees here by the bay in the chill autumn, and for my ancestors, who came four generations ago to this amazing land which makes my life possible.

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Ex cathedra: politics, sex, religion...the easy stuff

When the Bishop of Rome teaches officially and authoritatively as successor to the First of the Apostles, he teaches "ex cathedra", that is, "from the chair". Then it is not his personal opinion or speculation which is involved, but the truth.

This chair is the reason why some churches are called "cathedrals", because the bishop's "cathedra" is there. Professors who teach expertly in universities often "hold a chair" in thus-and-such. The person in charge of a group is called "the chair". So, speaking "ex cathedra" is authoritative teaching.

Of course, the "cathedra" that I have is a used dining room chair, but that will not stop me from having my say..."ex cathedra." No opinions. No speculation. Just the truth. About?

Sex. Politics. Religion. The stuff that's really interesting and that you aren't supposed to talk about at dinner parties.
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